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Bellot, Sidonie; Cusimano, Natalie; Luo, Shixiao; Sun, Guiling; Zarre, Shahin; Gröger, Andreas; Temsch, Eva; Renner, Susanne S. (2016): Assembled Plastid and Mitochondrial Genomes, as well as Nuclear Genes, Place the Parasite Family Cynomoriaceae in the Saxifragales. In: Genome Biology and Evolution, Vol. 8, No. 7: pp. 2214-2230
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Abstract

Cynomoriaceae, one of the last unplaced families of flowering plants, comprise one or two species or subspecies of root parasites that occur from the Mediterranean to the Gobi Desert. Using Illumina sequencing, we assembled the mitochondrial and plastid genomes as well as some nuclear genes of a Cynomorium specimen from Italy. Selected genes were also obtained by Sanger sequencing from individuals collected in China and Iran, resulting in matrices of 33 mitochondrial, 6 nuclear, and 14 plastid genes and rDNAs enlarged to include a representative angiosperm taxon sampling based on data available in GenBank. We also compiled a new geographic map to discern possible discontinuities in the parasites' occurrence. Cynomorium has large genomes of 13.70-13.61 (Italy) to 13.95-13.76 pg (China). Its mitochondrial genome consists of up to 49 circular subgenomes and has an overall gene content similar to that of photosynthetic angiosperms, while its plastome retains only 27 of the normally 116 genes. Nuclear, plastid and mitochondrial phylogenies place Cynomoriaceae in Saxifragales, and we found evidence for several horizontal gene transfers from different hosts, as well as intracellular gene transfers.